I absolutely love this time of year.
Everything has a fresh feel to it, and the Australian summer days are tailor made for slowing down. For me, it is the perfect time of the year to make plans.
And this year, I’ve been having a lovely time planning for September and October – the two months we will be spending entirely in France.
Of course, I haven’t been able to keep my excitement under control. I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen about where we’re considering visiting (many of them feature on this list) and why.
And these conversations have been quite interesting. This has been due to the level of surprise that registers when I share with others the fact that – of the almost nine weeks we’ll be travelling – we’ll only be spending six nights in Paris.
Now I don’t what it is like in your part of the world. But where we live, it seems people automatically assume that if you are visiting France, you will be spending the bulk of your time in Paris.
Of course, I understand the fascination with Paris. We’ve braved the excruciating long flight times every year for over a decade now to experience the magic that only Paris can offer. But I also feel that travellers who don’t venture beyond the French capital are cheating themselves of wonderful French experiences.
Here are four reasons it is to consider visiting parts of France beyond Paris.
French restaurants the world over have done a good job of creating the impression that French cuisine is composed of bistro classics. And if you only visit Paris, there is a good chance that this view will be reinforced.
In reality however, the food of France is far from generic. And in fact, the dishes or the delicacies you fall in love with in one part of the country may be impossible to find in another region. Head south of Paris to Provence offers a taste of the mediterranean diet. You’ll discover seafood in the south west and German influences to the east. Every region offers unique cheeses, and pastries too. The variety is endless. And mouth watering.
More Budget Friendly Options
Paris is like every other iconic city on the planet. It’s expensive. Like New York and London, this shouldn’t stop you visiting. But you do need to be aware of fact that these places aren’t cheap and plan accordingly.
If you want your travel dollars to stretch further, it’s worth considering your options beyond Paris. Prices on almost everything will be lower and high quality holiday bargains abound. This may give you the chance to stay for longer or to try a wider variety of experiences. And given the outstanding French rail system, you can easily do day trips if a dose of Paris is required.
A Different Feel
Paris is a big, modern city, albeit a very elegant one. But you will still find traffic jams, and packed boulevards. Outside of Paris however, you are likely to encounter a different brand of French charm.
All over France, you’ll find villages and cities that will delight you with winding streets, colourful doorways and breath-taking views. Although they are different to Paris, they’re sure to deliver beautiful vacation memories for years to come.
Increased Opportunities To Practice Your French
Despite what you might read, you can very easily travel to Paris without needing to speak French. English seems to be spoken more widely every time we visit. Away from Paris though you’re more likely to strike non-English speakers. Which forces reluctant French speakers like me to try a whole lot harder.
Where is your favourite French destination beyond Paris? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
And until next time – au revoir.